UEFA Champions League Semifinals: Searching for Redemption

Other Aug 18, 2020

You win some, and you lose some...

So, you chose to listen to me last week and saw Each. And. Every. One of my UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals predictions go by the wayside.

That’s right, I managed to turn a 50-50 proposition into 100% wrong predictions. Anybody can go 2-2 or 1-3, but 0-4?  That takes a special mix of bad luck and, let’s face it, talent to be so consistently mistaken.

I’m like the fine print in those commercials that warn you to “not attempt this at home.”  Let’s recap how that happened, shall we?

Wednesday: Atalanta 1-2 PSG (My original pick: ATA 2-1).  I said an upset was brewing, I just didn’t specify which one.  And I was so close, damn it, Atalanta was two minutes away from stunning the world until PSG scored in the 90th and 92nd minute to cap off an amazing comeback.

Thursday: RB Leipzig 1-0 Atlético Madrid (My original pick: ATM 1-0). I not only picked Atlético to advance, I picked them to win it all.  So, of course, they play their worst match of the season and lose after a deflected shot in the 86th minute. 2020 just keeps getting better for me.

Friday: Bayern Munich 8-2 Barcelona (My original pick: BAR 3-2). My pièce de résistance. I trusted Messi…

“Bayern is more of a complete team, but I can’t go against the best player in the world on a mission. I expect him to be clutch and come through with Barcelona in a way I wouldn’t if it was him playing for Argentina.”

Messi was MIA like he usually is in important matches for Argentina, and Barcelona was lucky it didn’t lose 12-2.

Saturday: Lyon 3-1 Manchester City (My original pick: MCI 3-1). “If you feel adventurous and feel Lyon can hang on to a draw, go for it.” I said.

Lyon executed its game plan to perfection, while Pep Guardiola’s squad had the ball but nothing resembling a viable offensive strategy. Raheem Sterling missed the point-blank shot that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and here I am now.

To recap:  

I picked the wrong upset, trusted the wrong players, projected the wrong champion.  If you are still with me now, I want you to know that I’m due.  Odds tell me I should be. S o let’s pick the two teams that will play next Sunday in the weirdest UCL final ever.

Note:  All spreads according to what’s posted this morning on https://play.spreads.ca/

RB Leipzig vs. Paris St. Germain [RB Leipzig +320, PSG -120, Draw +295]

American midfielder Tyler Adams scored the goal of his life last Thursday.  Five days later, he and his teammates will be tasked with stopping Neymar, Mbappé and Di María fresh off his suspension.

Neither team has ever reached the Champions League final, but PSG does have players that won it like goalkeeper Keylor Navas (3), Di María (1) and Neymar (1).

If Navas is truly recovered from his hamstring injury and Neymar remains in top form, I will go with PSG to become the first team in a UCL final since Monaco in 2004.

My Pick: PSG 2-1 RB Leipzig

Bayern Munich vs. Lyon [Bayern -445, Lyon +1075, Draw +600]

These two teams meet again in the semifinals, just like they did in 2010. Bayern’s Thomas Muller is the lone survivor of that series, which the German side won by a global score of 4-0.

The formidable and unstoppable Bundesliga champions have scored 11 goals since the Champions League restarted, while Lyon has transformed itself from the meek team that finished 7th in the French League with 11 wins, 10 draws and 7 losses into a counterattacking force that eliminated the Italian champion and the Premier League runners-up in back-to-back contests.

Bayern will have possession and attempt to strangle Lyon, but Les Gones will have their chances to inflict some damage against an exposed opposing defense.

Will the underdogs pull off one more upset and make it an All-French championship for the first time ever?  I bet against Bayern once, I’m not stupid enough to bet against that juggernaut again.

My Pick: Bayern Munich 3-1 Lyon.

Let’s see how it plays out.

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Guest Contributor

Special correspondent and contributor and guest sports handicapper provides the latest news and information you can use to make your daily picks.